Taking an ethics of care perspective on two university teacher training programmes


This paper shows the usefulness and interest of taking an ethics of care perspective to evaluate university teacher training programmes. More precisely, in this case study we use the five elements of care identified by Tronto attentiveness, responsibility, competence, responsiveness and trust – to assess two multiple-day training programmes offered at the University of Geneva. We show how small changes in our practice such as giving some choice to the participants over the topics addressed, adapting the schedule to meet the participants’ constraints or dedicating time slots specifically for the questions and concerns raised by the participants can have a big impact on the level of care provided. We moreover argue that this framework brings interesting and novel elements that appropriately “counterbalances” traditional evaluations that are usually implicitly based on notions such as performance, efficiency and measurability. Finally, we briefly explain how the ethics of care could be used a basis to not only evaluate but to rethink and elaborate training programmes.


Anderson, Lorin W. 2001. A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Complete ed.. New York: Longman.

Biggs, J. B, and Catherine Tang. 2011. Teaching for Quality Learning at University: What the Student Does. Fourth Edition. Philadelphia, Pa.]; Maidenhead, Berkshire, England; New York: McGraw-Hill/Society for Research into Higher Education : Open University Press.

Bozalek, Vivienne Grace, Wendy McMillan, Delia E. Marshall, Melvyn November, Andre Daniels, and Toni Sylvester. 2014. “Analysing the Professional Development of Teaching and Learning from a Political Ethics of Care Perspective.” Teaching in Higher Education 19 (5): 447–58. doi:10.1080/13562517.2014.880681.

Engelmann, Donna. 2009. “Another Look At a Feminist Ethics of Teaching.” Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice 33 (2): 62–71.

Gair, Marina, and Guy Mullins. 2001. “Hiding in Plain Sight.” In The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education, edited by Eric Margolis, 21–42. New York, NY: Routledge.

Held, Virginia. 2006. The Ethics of Care. Oxford Scholarship Online Monographs.

Land, Ray. 2004. Educational Development: Discourse, Identity and Practice. Open University Press. http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/8501/.

Margolis, Eric, ed. 2001. The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Olssen, Mark, and Michael A. Peters. 2005. “Neoliberalism, Higher Education and the Knowledge Economy: From the Free Market to Knowledge Capitalism.” Journal of Education Policy 20 (3): 313–45. doi:10.1080/02680930500108718.

Sevenhuijsen, Selma. 1998. Citizenship and the Ethics of Care: Feminist Considerations on Justice, Morality and Politics. London: Routledge.

Sevenhuijsen, Selma. 2003. “The Place of Care: The Relevance of the Feminist Ethic of Care for Social Policy.” Feminist Theory 4 (2): 179–97. doi:10.1177/14647001030042006.

Tronto, Joan C. 1993. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge.

Tronto, Joan C. 2013. Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality, and Justice. New York: NYU Press.

Young, I. M. 1997. “Asymmetrical Reciprocity: On Moral Respect, Wonder, and Enlarged Thought.” CONSTELLATIONS -OXFORD- 3 (3): 340–63.

How to Cite
Bennoun, S., P. Haeberli, and M. Schaub. 2018. “Taking an Ethics of Care Perspective on Two University Teacher Training Programmes”. South African Journal of Higher Education 32 (6), 137-52. https://doi.org/10.20853/32-6-2651.